GCN LAB REVIEW
8 rugged devices that are ready for field duty
The GCN Lab throws the mil-spec tests at a range of products built to withstand the elements
Every year, devices pour into the GCN Lab on quests for survival against vigorous rounds of Mil-Std 810G testing. Some end up as burnt, cracked and utterly destroyed pieces of ex-technology. But the ones that make it through – some of them surprisingly unscathed – are ready for duty anywhere.
There were eight competitors in our rugged roundup this year. Devices were tested according to the Mil-Std 810G specifications, but only against conditions that each one had certified it could survive. For example, if a unit wasn’t designed to handle salt fog, an occurrence that mostly happens in marine environments, it wasn’t put into the salt fog testing chamber.
Each unit earned a rugged grade in addition to the standard scores on performance, ease of use, features and value. The rugged grade was based on how well the unit survived each test that it went though. If a device failed, we state when and how it happened. A failing device won’t necessarily get an F if it passed other tests beforehand, but it won’t score very highly either.
Like last year, some of the devices that came into the lab didn’t look very rugged. Advances in plastic and rugged glass mean that a rugged unit doesn’t necessarily have to look like a tank anymore, although many of the toughest ones still do. We didn’t take into account the aesthetics of any units tested, though we did consider weight.